What my 9 year old Son taught me about Persuasion…

Three days before (July 28) my younger son Aarav turned 9 and he got ‘Nintendo Switch’ as his birthday gift.

How did he get something which was not even anywhere in sight?

And that’s where Aristotle’s, ancient Greek Philosopher and Scientist, 3 modes of persuasion comes in .

Ethos: Highlighting Credibility of a presenter

Logos: Uses Logic , data , facts ,figures, Statistics etc

Pathos: Appeals to Audience Emotions (Sympathy , Anger , Feeling vulnerable, Aspiration, Anxiety etc.)

Around a month before Aarav’s birthday, he spoke to first his mother about his birthday gift and she asked him to speak to me

I was back from a long travel and a bit tired.

Aarav : Daddy , you have given Honey( Tanish, his elder brother) Sony PS4 video game on his birthday

Myself: Yes Beta(Son), when honey turned 10 . Since 10nth birthday is a milestone, we gave him PS4 as the gift

Aarav: OK ..so now you can give me Ninetendo Switch on my birthday .

I knew Ninetendo was a video game but somehow was unaware of the details and pricing.

Anyhow since we had video game(PS4) in house, buying one more was completely out of question.

Myself : We already have a PS4 in house , why don’t you take anything else.

Aarav : I want Ninetendo because it has very nice games, different from PS4. It doesn’t have fighting games like PS4. Mario is awesome. ( Logos)

Impressed by reasoning of 9 year old, i reluctantly asked

Myself : What’s the price of Ninetendo switch?

Aarav : Around  Rs 30,000 for the game and Rs 10,000 for 2 games. I need 2 games

I was about to faint hearing Rs 40k($600) gift…Somehow gained composure and asked

Myself : This is very very expensive aarav and by the way you are turning 9 . We can explore this next year when you turn 10 like we did for your brother

Aarav : You can give ‘Ninetendo Switch ‘ to me now and i will take a normal gift when I turn 10.

All my objections are getting turned down, thus I use a little higher tone

Myslef : ‘No Betaaa, This is too expensive , you buy something else this year’. I then left.

Aarav: O…..K  Daddy ..

he looked disappointed.

I also felt little bad but thought it would be OK.

Next day, my wife tells me that Aarav cried and said

‘ Daddy-Mumma can give gift to Honey but not to me. Honey wanted PS4 and he got it. I want Nintendo Switch and I am not getting it . He rarely cries and he cried this time.’ (Pathos)

I got emotional and felt very bad because Aarav rarely cries.

In this emotional state, i opened amazon app and looked at the Nintendo switch ..Did some research..Checked the price in India, Dubai and US…and atleast became positive about this. Aarav could sense the change and was giving me continuous inputs.

As i reached Dubai airport, I got a WhatsApp from my wife saying that Aarav has found special deal on amazon india.. I checked it and immediately purchased it as savings were around Rs 10 k.

What happened next ?

You can see Aarav’s happiness 🙂 in the picture given in the beginning of this article .

As this happened , curios Sales Owner in me asked

What made this impossible sale happen ?

It was pathos .

Carmine Gallo, author of “Talk Like Ted,” has analyzed most successful Ted Talks and has come to the conclusion that the most successful Ted Talks are based on:

  • 65% Pathos
  • 25% Logos
  • 10% Ethos

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2016/03/04/ted-talks-that-go-viral-have-one-thing-in-common/#467d71ed17d6

 A 9 year old naturally used Pathos to make an impossible million dollar sale( Nintendo Switch) in less than 30 days.

I learnt a lot from this experience,saw Aristotle persuasion model in action and validated that pathos is the most effective among three modes of persuasion.

I am very excited to implement this learning in persuasion that my 9 year old son taught me.

Thanks Aarav 🙂 !


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *